A new responsible gambling campaign has been launched by Norwegian regulator Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) to highlight the risks of problem gambling and encourage players to only play with licenced operators.
The campaign was launched after the regulator’s research suggested that some 34,000 Norwegians suffer from gambling problems while another 88,000 are at risk of developing similar issues.
Lotteritilsynet seeks to highlight how gambling problems can have severe mental and financial implications, which can affect the spouse, partner, children, other relatives and friends of a player in turn.
“If you add everyone around the player who is also affected by the gambling addiction, there are a lot of people; we want to show how brutal and painful gambling addiction is, but also how people can get the best help,” Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet director Gunn Merete Paulsen said.
The initiative will also aim to reinforce the message that players should only be playing through an authorised operator. Norwegian gaming monopoly Norsk Tipping is currently the only operator permitted within the country to offer online gambling.
In general, it aims at using fair restrictions on gambling as a key differentiator. Norsk Tipping sets a limit on how much players can spend and how long they can play while the foreign brands that illegally operate in Norway do not offer such safeguards, Paulsen claimed.
“While Norsk Tipping contacts players who are at risk for problems and asks them to play less, foreign gaming companies do the opposite: they contact players and ask them to play more,” she said.
“Those who have a problem with gambling, or who are at risk of developing one, are also the ones who notice the most about bonuses, betting odds, free games and gifts in gambling advertising. This tool markets the foreign gaming companies on a large scale.”
Paulsen recognised market research that indicated six out of ten people in Norway do not know what gambling services operators are allowed to offer in the country and this campaign would help in tackling this issue.
“It is not strange; foreign gambling companies market their gambling a lot,” she said. “Then it is important for us to reach out with the knowledge that the foreign gambling companies are in fact not allowed to offer and market gambling in Norway.”
On FINN.no, an online marketplace which many Norwegians use to buy and sell products, Lotteritilsynet will run the responsible gambling adverts. Paulsen said that some of the ads are being placed by people trying to raise money to fund their gambling habits, but she hopes the campaign ads will help dissuade consumers.
“Many Norwegians go to FINN.no when to buy or sell, and some of the regular ads that lie there are completely real, but there are some are there to sell a cabin or car because of gambling debts,” Paulsen added.
“We hope the campaign will give some indication of how serious gambling addiction is, and that we are helping to spread knowledge.”